This morning, I joined the first video seminar from Bread & Jam, hosted by Jason and Tara, and with the very knowledgeable Dan Head from Visionary Food Solutions.

Today’s focus was on food suppliers, and understanding how to keep your food service channels alive. Dan’s tips could easily transfer to any industry, the thought process is the same

So, here are my key takeaways from the session, paraphrased to my own words:

  1. Samples for Buyers
    • Consider that they’ll be working from home, under extra pressure and might not be looking for range innovation right now.
    • Contact with a softer approach, suggesting you send them samples to their home address to just test out and enjoy with the family. Don’t adopt a sales message, use this as a door opener.
    • Try new sectors of the hospitality industry that you’ve not targeted before, eg hospital canteens.
  2. Shops are innovating
    • Chinese restaurants are selling everyday essentials like bread, milk and nappies, find out where you can follow the trends and be reactive.
    • Some independent farm shops and delis might be inclined to trial your product, at cost price to you, so it’s a foot in the door, and if you’re local, that would be an easy distribution system, (and I’d add to that, it’s a great press release opportunity!)
  3. Piggy back on home delivery
    • Deliveroo and Just Eat are the big players, but some restaurants and cafes are supplying direct-to-consumer.
    • If you have a product they could sell, go direct to your local food outlets and ask if you can piggy back on their services, adding easy revenue to both bottom lines.
  4. Delay big launches
    • This isn’t the best time to have a big launch, either go down the soft launch route, or wait out the storm.
    • Focus on your autumn/winter range.
    • White labelling under a retailer could be a consideration.
  5. Surplus stock
    • If you’ve got a lot of stock to turnover, link up with other similar brands, eg healthy snack bars with online sports clothing retailers, and offer giveaways on certain products purchased.
    • Sell in bulk at lower price, yes it reduces margins, but it also reduces the likelihood of product going out of date.
  6. Direct To Consumer
    • Consumers are conscious that they need to support smaller brands for them to survive the Corona Virus epidemic. So they’re keen to buy direct.
    • If you don’t sell via your website yet, consider setting that up ASAP, or buddy with third party selling platforms. I can personally recommend Borough Box.
    • Customers needs are changing rapidly. So consider, who are the customers you are targeting right now, and what will they need in the next 2-3 months?
  7. Healthy and naughty
    • This is something that came to mind whilst Dan was talking, that as we’re stuck at home, we’re inclined to eat healthily, as we’re less active.
    • However, with that feeling of being stuck, comes the need to feel like we ‘deserve’ a treat. I’m already reaching for the chocolate as much as the fruit, so I think there’s a parallel to the consumer needing both.

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I hope this is helpful, on a business or a personal level. If there’s anything else I can do to help, please get in touch.


External links:

Bread and Jam:

Visionary Food Solutions: